SBD/Issue 211/Facilities & VenuesPrint All
Revolution, Robert Kraft Refocusing On Idea
Of New Soccer Stadium In Somerville, Mass.
Somerville, Mass., officials are in talks to remake the Inner Belt area "into a thriving hub of housing, offices, shops, and, potentially, a sparkling new stadium" for the MLS Revolution, according to Eric Moskowitz of the BOSTON GLOBE. Revolution Owner Robert Kraft and his Kraft Sports Group "believe a new stadium here would raise the team’s profile by relocating from Gillette Stadium, the cavernous Foxborough home the team currently shares" with the Patriots. A Somerville stadium "would put the team within easy reach of neighborhoods packed with immigrants from soccer-obsessed countries, young urbanites looking for accessible entertainment, and suburban soccer families." Kraft first "floated the idea several years ago, but it had been on hold because of uncertainty over the Inner Belt." However, city and Massachusetts state officials in May agreed to put an MBTA commuter rail facility "not in the middle of the Inner Belt but along its eastern edge," and that has allowed the Kraft Group to "refocus on the area as a potential site for a roughly 20,000-seat facility." Revolution COO Brian Bilello on the team's blog recently noted that the Krafts have invested more than $1M "already to explore that site and three others around Boston." Bilello added, "During the next few months our architects and engineers will be studying the area to determine if it is possible to build a soccer stadium." He said building a stadium for the Revolution is a "top priority" for the Krafts, the team and MLS. Moskowitz noted the Revolution this season are averaging fewer than 12,000 fans per game at Gillette, which is in a "challenging location, nearly 30 miles from downtown Boston, for a soccer club trying to establish a steady fan base" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/18).
DESIGNATED FOR ASSIGNMENT? In Boston, Frank Dell'Apa reported the Revolution are "working on signings" after Thierry Henry joined the Red Bulls last week, "but will not likely go for a high-profile performer." Revolution VP/Player Personnel Michael Burns said, "We’ve been pretty consistent in what we’ve said in terms of a designated player. Since the (DP) was established, we said he would have to do something on the competitive side and also on the other side, as well, as far as marketability, ticket sales, to be a draw in the Boston area." Dell'Apa wonders if the Revolution, who have never signed a DP, are "feeling pressured to match other MLS teams in the marquee player sweepstakes." Burns said, "I don’t look at it like that. We are trying to bring in players, whether designated players or not. We want guys who will help the team, and we are not so caught up in does it have to be a DP or not" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/17).
Bucks, Bradley Center Hope
To Sign Multiyear Lease
The Bucks and Bradley Center "have reached agreement on a one-year lease, just as they have done for the past several years," according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The new lease is "backdated and covers the time period from Oct. 1, 2009 through Sept. 30, 2010." At all events held at Bradley Center, the Bucks "receive 27.5% of concession sales and 13.75% of food beverage sales in the suites," as well as 30% of all merchandise sales at Bucks games. The Bucks "do not pay any rent" (JSONLINE.com, 7/16). Bradley Center Sports & Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Stephen Costello said that both the arena and the Bucks "would like to find common ground on a multi-year deal." When asked "what would be an ideal length of time for a multi-year lease," Costello said that it would be "four or five years or longer" (JSONLINE.com, 7/17).
NIGHT AT THE THEATER: In Milwaukee, Mark Kass reports Bradley Center is "moving forward on plans to convert five luxury suites ... to 10, four-seat theater boxes in an effort to increase revenue." The suites, located on the northern end of the building, "will undergo an extensive renovation over the next several weeks and be completed in time for the opening" of the Bucks' season at the end of October. The theater boxes, which "will have access to a new private dining and lounge area, will cost about $60,000 a year and include all food and beverages" (MILWAUKEE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/16 issue). Costello estimated that the "work on the theater boxes will cost around $750,000." Costello said that by the time the Bucks' season starts, there will be "47 suites ... in the arena." Bradley Center officials this summer also "will begin work on the tear-down" of the current scoreboard and the installation of a new $3.2M replacement (JSONLINE.com, 7/17).
Renovating Nassau Coliseum Could Be More
Difficult If Area Developments Are Limited
The Town of Hempstead's new plan for the land surrounding Nassau Coliseum "could cut the potential for moneymaking development" by nearly 75%, compared with Islanders Owner Charles Wang's Lighthouse Project, according to an analysis by Randi Marshall of NEWSDAY. While the town said that its proposal, announced last week, "reduces the size and density of the project by half, Newsday's study found that a far more significant cut is likely when only the potential for new residential, retail and commercial development is considered." The Hempstead plan, by "limiting the amount of development so significantly, also would make it far more difficult to renovate the Coliseum -- a key component" for Wang, who has threatened to move the Islanders. Town officials contend that their plan "gives the developer the leeway to determine what's feasible economically." Hempstead's new proposal indicates that a developer "could be left with 1.35 million square feet for revenue-making development," compared to 4.92 million square feet under the Lighthouse proposal. Town officials said that "under their plan a developer could expand the Marriott and add more development to the site." They added that there would be "much more room for moneymaking development if a renovated Coliseum were smaller than the 1.2 million square feet the Lighthouse plan recommended." But Newsday's analysis shows that "a smaller arena wouldn't mean more housing could be built." Experts said that as "long as the developer has to pay for a renovated Coliseum, the numbers likely won't work" (NEWSDAY, 7/19).